Independence, freedom to change things up!

Kokako Farms is an independent winegrower, this means we are not owned by a winery.

The HB industry has a shrinking number of independent growers, NZ has a shrinking numbers as corporates buy up small growers, as profitability on small blocks becomes harder to achieve.

Why are these growers important to the wine industry? I feel one of the most important things is bringing new products to the market. Many corporate businesses don’t experiment much and stick to their knitting.

“Back in the day” when I had Lucknow Estate we planted Gamay Noir, there was one other grower at the time, fast forward to 2022 there are multiple wine brands that now have Gamay Noir wines, this would be unlikely to have been driven unless small growers looked for alternatives.

At Kokako we have been pushing the clones of chardonnay, looking for versions of chardonnay that push forward the quality of the grape and resulting wines.  Then we spread these new and established clones over the different soil types we have.  2017 was our last big plant, it was 95% chardonnay and some Syrah.

Five different chardonnay clones on Ohiti Gravels!  We are now placing these blocks of grapes with winemakers that reflect our values and goals to grow Hawkes Bays’ best chardonnays.

I firmly believe the left bank of our fantastic river is the SPOT; the right soil and the right growing degree days to offer true cool climate wine expression on Chardonnay and Syrah.


Chardonnay is going nuts right now; I could contract our whole volume twice over at the moment. Domestic sales are driving the trend, export is rising also but kiwis are leading the charge.

What is the future chardonnay going to look like? We have had Big full butterscotch styles, lean mineral unwooded, then reductive stinky numbers. What is next?

One of our amazing partners has just released something new and super cool.

Collaboration Wines new Verdant chardonnay 2021!  Fruit from our Ohiti Vineyard is fermented in sandstone jarres.

Chase and support independent wine brands, they are the spice that continues to make wine so exciting.

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